Initial Claims and Outlook – Will Congress Act Before Spending Suffers?

There is mixed news again today. Notice how the market reacts on a day with no economic news (yesterday) and with one with news (today). The bulls are looking to charge, but have some reservations. Over the 1,068 level is a short term bull trend initiation.

The real question from today’s data is: Will Congress act fast enough when they return on July 12th. Otherwise, spending will soften.

  • Initial Claims 454K vs 460K consensus, prior revised to 475K from 472K

  • Continuing Claims falls to 4.413 mln from 4.637 mln

Good points to be noted from

  • The initial claims level declined from 475,000 for the week ending June 26 to 454,000 for the week ending July 3. The consensus estimate was 460,000.
  • More importantly, emergency benefits have been in a free fall over the past several weeks as the level dropped 367,948 for the week ending June 19. The move is in-line with last week‘s Department of Labor announcement that 3.3 mln emergency benefits are scheduled to expire by the end of July.
  • Unless Congress can agree to extend the emergency benefits payouts, we could see a significant decline in income in both June and July. Since jobless benefits have been a major source of income stability over the past several months, the lost benefits will have adverse effects on our consumption forecasts.